APIA Leichardt’s triumph over Melbourne Victory in the 2018 FFA Cup is remembered for a myriad of reasons.
It was Nathan Millgate’s 80th minute header which not only sealed a famous win for the 1987 NSL Champions but one of Australian football’s grandest upsets in front of a 4000 strong crowd at Leichhardt Oval.
Irrespective of the result, the underlying narrative saw two powerhouse clubs, of different eras, come together to give Australian football a glimpse of a brighter future.
One which unites ‘old soccer and new football’ by celebrating the past while aspiring for greater growth, instead of the current plague of separate agendas and politics stagnating the game.
Since its inception, the FFA Cup has acted as a beacon of home for this better future – pitting some of the country’s oldest and proudest clubs against A-League sides equally desperate to etch themselves into history.
While upsets and strong local crowds were nothing new in the competition by August 2018, the tie between APIA and Melbourne Victory was a dream match-up Australian football fans could only dream of.
‘’It was a beautiful night there are so many great things about it – the fact it was at Leichhardt Oval brought people from many decades ago into it,’’ APIA club captain Franco Parisi told FNR.
‘’We had rallied to play at Lambert Park thinking imagine getting 10,000 people back into Lambert Park like the 80’s and the 70’s. I think Leichhardt Oval was a suitable venue and the fact [Melbourne Victory] were the champions, so it’s not as though we beat a team that were struggling in the A-League.’’
In a match where many had anticipated a Keisuke Honda debut, the NPL NSW heavyweights flipped the script by eliminating one of favourites of that year’s competition in incredibly dramatic fashion.
Only the bravest and most one-eyed APIA supporters could have confidently predicted such a famous and unexpected result and head coach Billy McColl was one them.
‘’We’re going to attack Melbourne Victory from the first minute,’’ McColl told FNR on the eve of the match.
‘’We’ve got no fear, the pressure is on them. We are going to attack and we’re going to go for the win.’’
The meeting between the two sides may become a reality within the next 10-15 years as NSL powerhouses, like APIA, continue to deliberate with governing bodies around the formation and their place in a national second division.